William MacEwan - Scotland's Stars On 78: William MacEwan

Monday 1st August 1994
William MacEwan - Scotland's Stars On 78: William MacEwan

STYLE: Hymnody
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Lismor

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Long before there were an Electrics, long before the electric guitar in fact, William MacEwan was Scotland's top gospel singer. In fact the sleeve tries to claim an historic first for this 20-song reissue of 78s by claiming MacEwan recorded "the first eight gospel songs ever recorded in the world." Making fatuous claims about gospel recordings (gospel singers, including Ira Sankey, recorded on cylinder before MacEwan's 1911 recordings) won't endear Lismor to a Christian audience. But then Lismor are pitching this at a Scottish nostalgia market for whom the "original Glasgow street singer" still rings distant bells of recognition. Music? Well, you get songs like "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", "The Old Rugged Cross" and "My Mother's Hand Is On My Brow" sung in a confident baritone with harmonium recording. Fascinating musical history if nothing else.

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